Gardens Illustrated
SGD awards 2021

Society of Garden Designers – The 2021 award winners

Published: October 18, 2021 at 12:18 pm

At their awards night on Friday 15th October the SGD crowned their 2021 winners.

The Society of Garden Designers has announced the winners of the ninth annual SGD Awards at a live event in London celebrating standout projects from across the industry.


With Gardens Illustrated in attendance, of course.

Here are all the winners from the night:

The Grand Award
Medium Residential Garden Award
The Planting Award

Winner: Sara Jane Rothwell MSGD

Garden by Sara Jane Rothwell. Winner of the MEDIUM RESIDENTIAL GARDEN AWARD.
Marianne Majerus

The most prestigious award of the night - The Grand Award - was presented to Sara Jane Rothwell MSGD for a stunning sloped garden in London which the judges described as a 'sexy, avant-garde design which has been flawlessly executed’ and 'beautiful, accomplished and very exciting.'

01b Garden by Sara Jane Rothwell. Winner of the PLANTING DESIGN AWARD.
Marianne Majerus

Built on a steeply sloping plot, the garden transformed an overgrown, unusable space into a family garden incorporating a lawn, an outdoor gym and layers of cascading planting.

This Grand Award-winning garden was also named best Medium Residential Garden AND also won the award for best Planting Design, bringing Sara Jane's wins up the three on the night. Congratulations from Gardens Illustrated!

Design for the Environment Award
The Judges' Award

Winner: Kristina Clode

Garden by Kristina Clode. Winner of the DESIGN FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AWARD.
Abigail Rex

Awards newcomer Kristina Clode was awarded both the prestigious Judges’ Award and the Design for the Environment Award for the Sedlescombe Primary School Sensory garden in East Sussex.

A true community effort built almost entirely by volunteers, with each school child planting a plant, the garden included a wide-range of wildlife friendly plants to increase biodiversity as well as drought-tolerant plants to reduce the need for watering.

The judges commended it for being 'sustainable in its widest senses, not only in terms of the use of materials and well-chosen planting, but in terms of its longevity'. They described it as an exceptional learning environment to teach children about the environment and a great example of what garden design is all about.

The Garden Jewel
People's Choice Award

Winner: Alice Ferguson MSGD & Jamie Innes

Garden by Alice Ferguson & Jamie Innes. Winner of the GARDEN JEWEL AWARD

Another double-winner. Winning both the People’s Choice Award – the only award to be determined by public vote – AND the Garden Jewel Award were Alice Ferguson MSGD and Jamie Innes of Artisan Landscapes.

And also the cover star of Gardens Illustrated's August Issue! Special congrats to them from all at Gardens Illustrated.

Their garden inspired by terrariums and Japanese temple gardens, was described by the judges as 'an exquisite subterranean garden providing a stunning focal point to look out onto, walk through and spend time in.'

Big Ideas, Small Budget

Winner: Alice Ferguson MSGD & Jamie Innes

Garden by Alice Ferguson & Jamie Innes. Winner of the BIG IDEAS, SMALL BUDGET AWARD.

Plus, in the second hat-trick of the evening, Alice and Jamie also won the Big Ideas, Small Budget Award for a tiny 33 metre square garden in Bristol.

Large Residential Garden Award

Winner: Gavin McWilliam MSGD & Andrew Wilson FSGD

Garden by Gavin McWilliam and Andrew Wilson. Winner of the LARGE RESIDENTIAL GARDEN AWARD 2021.
Marianne Majerus

On a much larger scale, Society Fellow Andrew Wilson FSGD and Gavin McWilliam MSGD won the Large Residential Garden Award for Longwood - a garden designed in tandem with Jane Duncan Architects for a mid-century modern house in Hertfordshire (above) which combined naturalistic planting with architectural statements, areas of meadow and a productive garden.

Healing, Learning or Community Garden Award

Winner: Joe Swift MSGD

Mark Lord

Joe Swift MSGD delighted the Awards' Charity Partner Horatio's Garden by winning the Healing, Learning or Community Award for the garden he designed for them at the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

Transforming the space into a contemporary garden to bring nature and beauty close to the spinal centre and provide patients and their relatives an oasis of calm in the clinical environment, the judges called it 'absolutely phenomenal.'

Commercial Landscape Award
Hardscape Award

Winner: Ann-Marie Powell MSGD

Garden by Ann-Marie Powell Gardens Winner of the HARDSCAPE DESIGN AWARD.
Garden by Ann-Marie Powell - Winner of the COMMERCIAL LANDSCAPES & GARDENS AWARD.

Double-winner Ann-Marie Powell MSGD scooped two awards for her luxury spa garden in Hertfordshire in the Commercial Landscapes category and the Hardscape category.

Small Residential Garden Award

Winner: Garden Club London led by Tony Woods MGSD

Garden by Tony Woods. Winner of the SMALL RESIDENTIAL GARDEN AWARD.
Marianne Majerus

Landscape company Garden Club London led by Tony Woods MSGD was named the winner in the Small Residential Garden category for what the judges described as 'a truly-secret garden creating a sanctuary in the middle of a busy, noisy area of London'.

Fresh Designer Award

Winner: Sheila Jack

Sheila Jack

Sheila Jack, a previous recipient of the Student Award, returned to the Awards podium to collect the Fresh Designer Award.

Communal Landscape Award

Winner: Reardon Smith Landscape led by Edward Freeman MSGD

Garden by Reardon Smith. Winner of the COMMUNAL LANDSCAPES & GARDENS AWARD.

Landscape company Reardon Smith Landscape, led by Edward Freeman MSGD, won the Community Landscapes Award for a public park in Westminster designed with a focus on biodiversity.

International Award

Winner: Chloe Humphries MSGD

Garden by Chloe Humphreys. Winner of the INTERNATIONAL GARDENS & LANDSCAPES AWARD.

The International Award was won by Chloe Humphreys MSGD for a stunning design in Naretoi, Masaii Mara, Kenya (below), which combines the requirements of a wild bush home with a sustainable and responsible design, both in the carbon footprint of the project and the impact on the local habitat.

The scheme was described by the judges as 'a perfect example of a garden hewn from the landscape.'

Small Residential Garden

Highly Commended: Cassandra Crouch MSGD

Cassandra Crouch. Highly Commended, Small Residential Garden.

Highly Commended Award in the Small Residential Garden category which was presented to Cassandra Crouch MSGD for a contemporary courtyard garden in Hertfordshire.

Paper Landscapes

Winner: Tabitha Rigden and Helen Saunders

Garden by Tabitha Rigden & Helen Saunders. Winner of the PAPER LANDSCAPES AWARD.

Tabitha Rigden and Helen Saunders took the prize for their for their Murmuration Garden Murmuration Garden for Rehabilitation. "The previous space was not easily accessible to anyone with mobility issues, nor easily navigable for wheelchair users," explained Helen and Tabitha.

"As well as addressing this issue, our design provides an attractive outdoor space for patients, staff and visitors alike, with a sense of tranquillity and seclusion achieved by screening the neighbouring houses. The new garden allows patients the opportunity to reconnect with nature by using gardening as a form of therapy."

The SGD Lifetime Achievement Award

The night's Lifetime Achievement Award – an award granted to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the landscape and garden design profession – went to garden designer, author and broadcaster David Stevens FSGD.

David Stevens. Winner of the LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD.

On presenting the Award, SGD Chair, Lynne Marcus said: "David Stevens has been designing gardens worldwide for over fifty years. He has 26 RHS Chelsea medals, 14 of which have been Gold and he has won three 'Best in Show' awards. He has also written 21 books on garden design and is one of our leading Educators.

David has had an immense influence on the growth and development of garden design both through his own work and as a teacher. He was there at the inception of the Society of Garden Designers; he is ‘one of our own’. There can be no one more deserving as a representative of our profession and values to win the SGD Lifetime Achievement Award in our 40th Anniversary Year.

The SGD Student Awards

Student Design – Commercial

Winner: Laura Potten

Student Laura Potten

In the Student Design - Commercial category Laura Potten, a student at the London College of Garden Design was presented with the award for her design for a Spanish village.

Creating a green space for a village in the Pyrenees, Laura Potten's design took its inspiration from elements of the Aragon culture, with a rill running through the space – referencing the network of irrigation channels that were once part of the village – and curves in the floor of the main square relating to the moves in a local dance.

The judges called it 'A stunning and sensitive design that demonstrates an impressive level of self-restraint and responds brilliantly to the site.'

Special Environmental Award – Commercial

Winner: Harry Holding

Student Harry Holding

In the same category, Harry Holding created a landscape masterplan for a proposed wellness retreat in Wales, harnessing the local resources so the site could be off-grid and self-sustaining, and enable guests to reconnect with nature. He was given a special environmental award for what the judges called 'a wonderful project demonstrating an outstanding professional approach.'

Student Design – Domestic

Winner: Lyndan Brewer

Student Lyndan Brewer

In the Domestic Design Category Lyndan Brewer won the Student Award for Crab Creek - a Cornish garden designed to make the most of the spectacular location and create a space for a recently retired couple to enjoy with their grandchildren.

Lyndan's winning garden was designed to work with the natural contours of the site using local building materials for their sustainability credentials and to connect the garden to its surroundings and incorporating vernacular features, such as drystone walls.

Praised for his illustrations, the judges described it as 'A fine example of imaginative design for a challenging site, brought to life by joyous visuals that really capture the intimacy, fun and spirit of the place.'

Student Design – Domestic

Highly Commended: Alberto Caffi

Student Alberto Caffi

Alberto Caffi's Waterfall Garden was designed to be a place for relaxation and entertainment with a dining space for at least eight guests, plus an area to play bocce. The design takes its inspiration from nature, with trees planted to merge into the woods beyond, a stream and gentle waterfall.

Richard Sneesby, head of the SGD Awards judging panel said: "With well over 100 entries this year, we judged some of the best gardens we have seen. We were especially encouraged to see many entries in the smaller garden categories which showcased exquisite detailing and beautiful planting as well as gardens which celebrate the importance of setting rigorous and challenging environmental goals and the critical role that outdoor places have in providing social and community benefits. In this, of all years, we were really delighted to see so many gardens making a real difference to people’s health and well-being”


Congratulations from Gardens Illustrated to all of this year's winners!


Daniel GriffithsDigital Editor

Daniel Griffiths is a veteran journalist who has worked on some of the biggest home and entertainment brands in the world. He is a serial house-renovator and home improvement expert, taking on everything from interior design and DIY to landscape gardening and garden design.


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